VIDEO: First Look – Ford Reveals All-New 2018 Expedition in Dallas
Aluminum-Intensive Construction and EcoBoost Engine Make Jump from F-150
Ford revealed the 2018 Expedition SUV today, revealing the first all-new fullsize SUV from Ford since 2007. Expected in dealers in fall 2017, the company trotted out the Expedition at Ford Center at The Star, the same football field where the Dallas Cowboys play.
The 2018 Expedition is a marked departure from the SUVs that came before it. Taking from the F-150’s playbook, the Expedition features a high-strength steel frame underpinning an aluminum-alloy body, yielding a 300-pound weight savings over the previous Expedition. While early test mules sported modified F-150 bodywork, the 2018 Expedition has bespoke styling, with a smooth front end, crisp bodyside surfacing, and a conventional greenhouse—the F-150’s stepped windowsills are gone. Front-end styling recalls the Explorer somewhat, although the Expedition’s upright design befits its more rugged body-on-frame construction.
A piece of chrome trim wraps around the entirety of the Expedition’s beltline, and the Expedition features the nameplate’s signature blacked-out B- and D-pillars. Ford resisted the trendy temptation to give the Expedition a floating roof, which we think would have made it look too much like a Range Rover knockoff. That said, the greenhouse looks similar to that of its Chevrolet Tahoe rival, and certain front angles recall the Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve. Still, the Expedition looks handsome, if a bit conservative in its styling. Families looking to stand out from the crowd should be sure to option the Expedition Platinum for its slick, satin-chrome front grille and bold wheel designs.
Making the most of the weight loss is a 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 with Ford’s automatic engine-idle stop system, routing power through a 10-speed automatic transmission. As before, the Expedition rides on a four-wheel independent suspension, providing a smooth ride and opening up space in the passenger cabin for third-row passengers and cargo. The company didn’t reveal power or torque figures for its new SUV, but we anticipate them to fall close to the 375 hp and 470 lb-ft found in the F-150 with the same powertrain. By comparison, the previous-generation Expedition features an older version of the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 (making 365 hp and 420 lb-ft), while the 2017 Chevrolet Tahoe’s 5.3L V-8 produces 355 hp and 383 lb-ft.
While performance is important in an SUV of this size, attracting families to the Ford stable will depend primarily on interior comfort and convenience. While the outgoing Expedition’s dated design compromised both style and amenities, the new one offers state-of-the-art convenience and safety features, bundled in a more modern wrapper. Keen-eyed readers will note a steering wheel and dashboard taken from the F-150, although some finishes have been modified for family duty. A rotary gear selector replaces the pickup’s traditional gearshift, and the Expedition Platinum features attractive matte-wood trim for the cupholder and cubby doors. Quilted leather looks modern and comfortable, and if the 2017 F-150 is any indicator, the 2018 Expedition should be a comfortable place to spend time.
For the first time ever, the Expedition will be available with a variety of driving assistance technologies, including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability. A lane-keeping aid helps reduce inadvertent drifting outside the lines, and the 2018 Expedition’s collision avoidance detection system and blind-spot monitoring will help prevent or mitigate collisions. Expedition passengers also benefit from the SUV’s improved technology suite, which includes wireless device charging (a Ford first), a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to 10 devices, and wired charging for all three rows with four 12V power points, six USB chargers, and a 110V power outlet.
Infotainment and luxury features include an available rear-seat entertainment system that can connect to the owner’s home television programming, a 12-speaker B&O Play audio system, and Sync 3 with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sync Connect enhances the 2018 Expedition’s connectivity with the FordPass app, allowing users to start, lock, unlock, locate, and diagnose their Expeditions from just about anywhere. Ford’s panoramic Vista Roof allows for two-row stargazing or sun worshiping.
Enhancing the 2018 Expedition’s convenience quotient is a new cargo-management system with an adjustable shelf to customize storage space as needed. A hands-free liftgate helps with loading cargo, and Ford expects best-in-class towing, aided by the company’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist. A tip-and-slide second-row seat permits access to the third row, even with a child safety seat installed in the passenger-side outboard position. The Expedition will also feature additional third-row legroom, adding to its predecessor’s already class-leading space back there.
Ford will offer the Expedition in XLT, Limited, and Platinum trim levels. (The company also will offer a base-spec Expedition XL to fleets, like law enforcement and fire response agencies.) The XLT, Limited, and Platinum will also be available in an extended-length Expedition MAX, which replaces the Expedition EL as Ford’s rival to the Chevy Suburban.
Pricing and nitty-gritty specifications will be available closer to the Expedition’s on-sale date, but on the surface, we like what we see. The 2018 Ford Expedition is a wholesale improvement over its predecessor, offering fresh styling, an upscale interior, modern mechanicals, and thoroughly updated luxury and convenience features. While the outgoing Expedition languished somewhat due to competition from the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, the all-new 2018 Ford Expedition should do well in the large family SUV space, particularly if it can undercut its competition’s $47,215 starting price.